The thing I love most about this job, is when you spend years selling a particular place, you do training with the operators, you get feedback from clients and you watch enough footage and check out enough photos to make you think you know a place as well as you can, and then when you finally get there it still manages to blow you away.
“Still dreaming of this Tea Bags session!”
This is exactly what happened with Mahi Mahi Bungalows in North Sumatra. I’ve been working really closely with the resort for the last few years and with a string of happy clients, it was fairly obvious that this was a trip worth doing, and yet the waves, the island, the resort itself and the crew who run the show all managed to smash my expectations. Simeulue is beautiful and was much cleaner and more relaxed than what you come to expected from the populated areas of Indonesia, with the friendly locals, wild jungle and the roaming water buffalo and goats, mixing to create a really unique vibe that makes you want to slow right down and embrace island time.
Pretty happy to wake up to this every monring!
Mahi Mahi embodies that vibe perfectly and Anna, the manager, will make you feel like you’re at home from the get go. The resort itself punches above it’s pay grade and while still really down to earth, it’s a beautiful spot with manicured lawns (thanks to the ox), stunning traditional buildings, horizon pool and a view of the peak from where ever you are. In this case I was on a boys trip but if your family likes to keep things a bit more interesting than the standard family resorts of Bali or The Maldives then it’s definitely nice enough to cater. I spent a good part of my time there already looking forward to coming back with my kids and watching them go nuts chasing goats around the place all day. Yoga, jungle treks, waterfalls and Mahi Mahi’s local conservation program means there’s plenty to keep the non-surfers entertained as well, and crucially if you’ve got a bit more than a pure surf mission in mind, the food is epic.
Of course that’s all great but the most important thing is still the surf. The Peak out the front is obviously a super fun wave, but it can also be a lot more serious than that. The left is a proper barrelling wave and then the right is always there to tear to shreds when you’ve had enough of getting pounded by the left. The island time mentioned above means there rarely anyone out before 7 am and then even when a few surfers do filter out, with the left and right, plus sets and smaller inside waves, there’s a pretty big playing field and even with a few heads in the water it rarely feels like it’s too busy. We also did the 15 minute mission up to Monkey Trees a few times to surf what I thought was one of the funnest waves over there, and never had more than two other guys in the water (and mostly to ourselves). So it’s already got a pretty good base, but to top it off you can jump on the boat to head out to T-Bags for some heaving Indo perfection (and I haven’t even spoken about Dylans, Thailand and the hundreds or reef/beachie set ups that surround the island).
Another great thing with the surfing was the freedom you get, which I didn’t even know was a factor until I stayed here. Richie the main guide is an absolute legend and you could head of with him every day if you want, but in most cases you’ll do a few trips with him early on during your stay, then once you know the lie of the land they have 4 cars and 8 mopeds so it’s as easy as it could be to go wherever you want, when ever you want, to find waves. Sounds like such a simple thing but having the option to surf out the front, go with the guide or just jump on a moped and head off is more than the average surf camp or charter will provide.
Not so bad doing the mission to find waves when this is the commute.
So all in all I knew I was heading for some fun waves, and staying at a spot that plenty of clients had raved about, but when you get world class waves with minimal crowd factor, you’re hugging everyone at the resort on the goodbye, and you’re already doing the math to work out how quickly you can get back there with the family, then you know you’ve struck gold!